Getting Around, Chiang Mai Travel, Transport and Car Rental

(Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Picture of Thai Tuk TukLocated over 700 km / 435 miles to the north-west of Bangkok, many people choose to travel between Chiang Mai and Thailand's capital cities by using train transport or long-distance buses. Those travelling from abroad usually fly into the nearby Chiang Mai International Airport, where a good choice of ground transportation awaits.

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular and is a simple way to travel around Chiang Mai, although at times the traffic can become a little heavy. However, the iconic 'tuk tuks' are without doubt the city's most famous mode of transport and both locals and tourists alike choose to travel in these tiny, yet speedy three-wheelers, which are able to weave in and out of the traffic with relative ease.

Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) / Arriving by Air

Address: 60 Sanambin Road, Suthep District, 50100, Thailand
Tel: +66 05 327 0222 33
Located close to the city and around 10 km / 6 miles to the south-west, Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) features many scheduled international flights, which arrive from Kunming, Singapore, Taipei, Vientiane and Yangon, as well as locations around Thailand, including both Bangkok and the island of Phuket. Nearly four million passengers use Chiang Mai Airport to travel in and out of the city, with the budget airlines being especially popular. Ground transport at the airport consists of taxis, tuk tuks, car rentals and limos, with the transportation counters being easy to find of the first floor.

Car Rental

Cars, 4WDS and other vehicles are available for hire at a number of locations within the city, and also at Chiang Mai International Airport, allowing you the freedom to travel when and where you choose. Particularly reliable transport companies include North Wheels and Queen Bee, both of which can be found along Moon Muang Road. Avis and Budget are available at the airport. Many visitors choose to drive into Chiang Mai from other cities in Thailand, enjoying the scenic drive and countryside. When renting a vehicle in Chiang Mai, do check the insurance coverage carefully.

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Photo of a Tuk Tuk

Taxis and Tuk Tuks

Chiang Mai has recently introduced a fleet on metered taxis, which travel all around the city and are always especially popular with tourists. However, for the ultimate transport in Chiang Mai, take a trip on one of the many three-wheeled 'tuk tuks', which have become synonymous with Thailand. Many people also choose to travel on the city's small red 'songteaw' trucks, which are a good alternative to taxi transport.

Buses and Coaches

Whilst bus transport around the city is minimal to say the least, long-distance buses regularly travel here from all over Thailand and beyond. Air-conditioned long-distance buses travel between Chiang Mai and Bangkok, departing from the Arcade bus terminal on the eastern side of the city, with a journey time of just over ten hours. VIP bus transport can be arranged in the city, being operated by a number of private companies, travel agencies along the Khao San Road, and also the local government.


A number of trains travel into Chiang Mai from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong train station, with overnight sleeper trains being especially popular. Second-class train travel is more than adequate, although those in a hurry should consider the special express trains, which transport passengers for just a small surcharge. Chiang Mai's train station is located on the Charoen Muang Road and features two separate advance booking offices and a left-luggage service.